When Despair Meets Delight Launches

If you've ever ridden a roller coaster, you know the anticipatory thrill mixed with dread fear as you come to the top of the tracks, just before you descend at full speed, plunging downward, downward, downward, until just before you hit the group, the car comes to a rest and you do it again. It's been a long time since I've ridden on a roller coaster, at least in a theme park. I ride an emotional one each day. Sometimes each hour. As I approach the September 1 public release of my book, I'm feeling the thrill of being at the top of the roller coaster. Now is the time to check my belt to see that it is secure. Today I went over my schedule with my wife, mapped out a projected course, and have been recruiting partners to share the load. While I want my book release to [...]

When Despair Meets Delight Launches2020-08-09T20:35:19-04:00

When Despair Meets Delight: Growing Closer Each Day

Things are speeding up as I progress toward the publication of When Despair Meets Delight. This week I have: Messaged prospective buyers about advance orders. Conducted an interview with a local reporter for an feature article. Met with a librarian about an upcoming virtual book launch. Spoke with a Christian radio station about appearing on one of their programs. Scheduled appearances on two Facebook live podcasts. All this while attending to my dying father and coordinating his funeral service. Am I manic? Perhaps. Should I slow down? Maybe. What happens if/when I crash? I don't know. One thing I'm sure of is I'm not manufacturing my mania. I am getting plenty of sleep. I'm taking my prescribed medication on time. I have a relatively good rhythm of work and rest. There are certainly improvements I could make in such areas as diet and exercise, but I'm doing my best. I'm [...]

When Despair Meets Delight: Growing Closer Each Day2020-08-07T15:28:38-04:00

To Veston E. Roberts, the Best Dad Ever

My dad died this week. A decade ago he was given a few months to live and he thumbed his nose at the medical establishment and lived life to its fullest, until he was ready to die on his own terms. He died with confident faith that this life is not all there is. He found strength for each day because of his hope that tomorrow would be better.  Dad didn't get to see my latest book in print, but I did read it to him. He knew I had acknowledged the huge part he and his wife Connie played in making it possible. The look of pride and gratification in his eyes is one I'll carry with me to my dying day.  My book went through  many transformations, the latest of which came after Dad's diagnosis in March. This excerpt comes from that...   From When Despair Meets Delight, [...]

To Veston E. Roberts, the Best Dad Ever2020-08-02T20:16:25-04:00

Seeking Inspiration, Breathing, and Tearing Up: The Labor Process of When Despair Meets Delight

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. ― Jack London. There have been periods in my life when I have written thousands of words each day. I've filled up journal after journal, written poems and devotional essays, letters, blog posts, whatever form I could find to express myself. These creative bursts feel so good. I mean SO good. They provide me a natural high where I feel euphoric. As Dad would say, "I don't feel any pain anywhere. Not in my hair. Not in my fingernails. Nowhere." It is quite beautiful and, while not always, I think the writing produced during these periods is likewise delightful. Then there are other times. Times when words are missing. Sentences are partial. For every paragraph that appears on the screen, I backspace over two. Tonight is one of those times. I don't want to write. But I've [...]

Seeking Inspiration, Breathing, and Tearing Up: The Labor Process of When Despair Meets Delight2020-07-27T20:49:55-04:00

Around the World in 80 Key Strokes: Writing as Global Mission

I have been more active on social media than ever before as I promote my book. While I worry of becoming grandiose by focusing on my own story, I am delighted at the friendships I am forming around the world with people who share the same passions about reaching out to those impacted by brain illnesses with the compassion of Christ and the consolation of the Holy Spirit. One friend I've recently made is Rosette. Rosette is from Uganda and is part of a faith community which takes seriously the call of Christ to engage in healing ministry. She shared a story of a woman with severe schizophrenia who had been left to flounder in isolation. Members of the church visited her, prayed with her, advocated for her to get and take the medication she needed. Now, while not cured, she functions fully in the life of the community. She [...]

Around the World in 80 Key Strokes: Writing as Global Mission2020-07-23T03:13:53-04:00

When Despair Meets Delight Goes to Press

The time is at hand. After five years of gestation, and over a year of hard labor (with a week of major complications), I have been assured that When Despair Meets Delight will go to the printers today. From there, it should take two weeks to prepare a review copy. When I am satisfied that all looks good, I will bring boxes of books home. Then comes the delightfully arduous task of mailing out advance orders -- now over 100. On September 3, the print and e-book will be released on Amazon and the audio version on Audible. This has been an incredibly busy week. I contracted with a man from Uganda to design memes for social media. I hired a sound engineer to create a commercial for iHeart radio. I have been reaching out to podcasters, blog authors, pastors, and others to get the message out. I am both [...]

When Despair Meets Delight Goes to Press2020-07-19T07:06:48-04:00

What’s in a Name? A Serious Title Change to my Book.

As I approach the Eleventh hour toward submitting my book for publication, I am calling everything into question. The other night I recorded an audio version and found 33 changes I wanted to make. Then, my mind turned to the title.  When Despair Meets Delight: Stories to cultivate hope for those with serious mental illness. Does this best describe my mission and communicate my message? I had some doubts. Not about it all. It was just not quite right. And the part that wasn’t right was SERIOUS! What is a serious mental illness (SMI). I first found the term on the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) website. While the definition has been in flux of late, SMI tends to refer to those diagnoses which are typically most debilitating, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. But this is a very subjective scale and even the “experts” disagree on [...]

What’s in a Name? A Serious Title Change to my Book.2020-06-04T17:03:17-04:00

A Blessed Rejection

I am still manic, showing no signs of slowing down. It is delightful, but also exceedingly dangerous. Some studies suggest that each severe manic episode you experience in your lifetime robs you of functioning for the future. Chemical highs from the brain may do as much damage as those induce by substances consumed. It is possible that for hour I spend in exercising frenetic energy, I am limiting both the quantity and quality of my life. A good friend who battles bipolar herself reminded me of this today. Our exchange went something like this:   Tony: BJ, if you are interested in receiving a free e-newsletter about When Despair Meets Delight, simply reply with your email address. Thanks! BJ: Tony, I am not interested, and here is why: I am concerned about you. As much as I want you to succeed, I am concerned you are taking on too much. [...]

A Blessed Rejection2020-05-20T14:36:07-04:00

The Highway to Hell is Paved with Manic Intentions

I have now completed the final manuscript of second book, When Despair Meets Delight: Stories that cultivate hope for those with serious mental illness. I have received three endorsements. The ISBN#s have been obtained. I have applied to list it in the Library of Congress. I am working with a graphic artist, Jolie Buchanan of Jolie B Studios on the cover design. She is also doubling duties by doing the formatting. I have contracted with my web designer Sean Pritzkau about revamping my website to feature this book and expand my brand to reflect more of what I do at Delight in Disorder Ministries -- A Way with Words Publishing; Revealing Voices Podcast; Faithful Friends Support Group; and Tony Roberts, Faith & Mental Health Consultant. I have sold over 75 advance copies that will defray a good portion of the cost to publish the book, allowing me to approach the [...]

The Highway to Hell is Paved with Manic Intentions2020-05-13T22:44:49-04:00

When Despair Meets Delight: The Journey

In June of 2019, I began to conceive the notion of doing a second book with the working title of When Despair Meets Delight: Stories to Cultivate Hope for Those Impacted by Serious Mental Illness. It didn't gel until around August and I had a number of false starts. In October, I hit my stride and within that month had a rough manuscript of 27,000+ words. I sent it to my personal editor, Leanne Sype, who spruced it up. I then sent it to Moody Publishers for consideration. Amy Simpson, an acquisitions editor from Moody, reviewed my manuscript and wrote back: Thanks for sending your manuscript my way. I have had a chance to review it, and I’m sorry to say Moody is not the right publisher for this project. We generally don’t publish memoirs, and while your manuscript is extremely well written, we simply aren’t the best fit. I [...]

When Despair Meets Delight: The Journey2020-05-07T02:33:25-04:00
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